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April 17, 2023 2023 Tech Companies to Watch

Newly-acquired Hybrid Pathways finds foothold in competitive cybersecurity market

Tom Hazen

In business as in life, timing is everything.

And in 2018, Tom Hazen, one of the founders of Hybrid Pathways, was concerned his cybersecurity startup might be too late to the party.

The nation’s largest companies — the enterprise players — were well down the road toward moving their data to the cloud. Was there still room for the Hybrid Pathways team to leverage its long-standing relationships and win a foothold in the cybersecurity space?

The seven founders of Hybrid Pathways are industry veterans with both deep experience in the local verticals and deep connections. And they were greeted with open arms by company after company facing unique challenges integrating legacy systems and new technology.

Today, Hybrid Pathways has about 40 clients, largely insurance, pharma and healthcare companies in the Northeast.

And it’s adjusting to new ownership. New Era Technology, a global company based in Indianapolis with 14,500 clients and 4,500 employees, acquired Hybrid Pathways in November. New Era is owned by Sentinel Capital Partners of New York City.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Hazen said day-to-day operations in Hartford are largely unaffected.

“New Era gives us expanded offerings for our clients,” he said.

From day one, Hybrid Pathways was bootstrap-funded by the founders, Hazen explained.

“We sell no products, so the costs were our labor,” he said.

It took about six months before the founders started to pay themselves, he recalls. As the firm grew, it added employees and now has about 50 full-time equivalents plus contractors.

As part of the New Era family, Hybrid Pathways has access to markets and services that were beyond the firm’s reach just months ago. Among the new benefits for clients are video collaboration, contact/call center services and managed infrastructure and security services.

Subscription model

At the heart of Hybrid Pathways’ business is data security, Hazen explains.

It is vendor-agnostic, with partnerships in place with the largest players in the market — Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure.

It preaches disciplined practices in identification, connection and protection.

Amid a dizzying array of threats, Hazen said ransomware is top of mind for enterprise clients. Strict adherence to established data policies is the best protection, he said, while acknowledging “bad things do happen.”

Hybrid Pathways does provide recovery services but is not a forensics firm, he stresses.

The firm works on a subscription model that allows clients to scale services up or down as needed. And while Hybrid Pathways specializes in working with Fortune 1,000 clients, it also serves midsize businesses, Hazen said.

Along the way, Hybrid Pathways has won honors for both its growth and workplace culture.

Inc. magazine lists the firm as No. 917 on its list of the fastest-growing 5,000 companies in America. Hartford Business Journal named Hybrid Pathways as one of the Best Places to Work in Connecticut in 2023.

The distinction is notable because Hybrid Pathways has been all-remote from its start. It’s a tribute to the “no-drama” culture that’s in place, said Hazen. Communication and transparency are priorities, and no issue is too small to address.

In the absence of traditional watercooler conversations, every Thursday there’s a remote gathering with only one rule: no shop talk.

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